Ellen Stumbo
Ellen Stumbo and her daughter, Nichole.

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I don't know anyone else who falls down as often as my daughter with cerebral palsy does. Yet every time she falls, she gets back up. Even when she gets hurt, she gets back up and keeps on going.
It wasn't always this way. There was a time when she didn't believe she could get back up. Her first English words were, "I can't." It didn't matter how much we tried to encourage her or push her to try new things (like walking); she didn't believe she could do it. For almost four years, she lived in an orphanage where she often heard those words said to her: "You can't." And she believed them.
It is incredible what the love and support of a family can do to a child. It is a joy to watch God change a heart that believes "I can't" to a heart that believes "I can do this!"
And she tries, and she tries, and she tries again. And she falls, and she falls, but she never gives up. She pushes herself up and tries again for those steady steps shortly after surgery. She tries again when she is determined to run. She tries again when she wants to jump. She gets back up, because giving up is not an option for her.
Falling is a part of my daughter's day. But so is dusting off to keep on going. And I wish I was as resilient and strong as she is.
I might not literally fall down, but there are plenty of life circumstances and situations that push me down. Sometimes it is hard to get back up. It is much easier to stay down, nursing my wounds and giving up on the friendship or the dream or the training or the hard work.
As a parent, I want to teach my children important lessons about life. Yet sometimes it is my children who teach me those lessons—lessons that push me to get back up, to push aside the "I can't" playing in my thoughts, to believe that I can do it, to keep trying, to never give up.
Adapted from Ellen Stumbo's blog at www.ellenstumbo.com. Ellen is a pastor's wife, and she writes about finding beauty in brokenness with gritty honesty and openness. She is passionate about sharing the real—sometimes beautiful and sometimes ugly—aspects of faith, parenting, special needs and adoption. She has been published in Focus on the Family, LifeWay, MomSense, Not Alone and Mamapedia, among other publications.

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